It was war, not a skirmish, between the Kashmiri protestors and the Indian forces. It was a war, and Prime Minister Modi knew it was coming.
To keep the people’s rejection of the fake bye-election to a parliamentary seat under control he had sent 20,000 additional well-equipped troops to Occupied Kashmir.
The seat had been vacated by the incumbent member last year in protest against “naked brutalities” by Indian troops to suppress an uprising following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The election to the seat comprising the districts of Srinagar and Budgam was a test case both for the Modi government and its pawns in Occupied Kashmir. The freedom-fighting leadership had announced a boycott of the bye-election but the government in New Delhi wanted to ensure that the polling not only took place but the majority cast the votes. Keeping that in mind, Narendra Modi had recently visited Occupied Kashmir and gave people the sop by asking them to choose between “terrorism and tourism.” It was a joke with people who had struggled all these years, made huge sacrifices and was determined to persist in that struggle.
Their response to Modi’s sop came this past Sunday. They frustrated Narendra Modi’s attempt at holding the bye-election, and for that to happen they spared no sacrifice. In the daylong running battles with the occupying forces all over the constituency eight Kashmiri youth were killed and more than a hundred injured by Indian troops, who wouldn’t shrink at firing straight into protesting crowds. To the utter disappointment of the Indian rulers, the bye-election to the Lok Sabha proved to be nothing but sham, as the turnout at the polling stations was a mere 6.5 percent, the lowest in 30 years. It was a fallacy on the part of those who said the tempo built by the freedom fighters following the killing of Burhan Wani had slackened.
In fact it was always there, with protesters expected to persevere, manifesting its vigour once again at the Anantnag bye-election on Tuesday, if at all it is held now.
What else is required to hold right the Kashmiris’ call that sham elections in Occupied Kashmir is no alternative to their right of self-determination promised to them by none else but the UN Security Council, and at the request of none else but India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The international community owes it to the incarcerated people of Occupied Kashmir to urge India to stop the bloodshed and hold a transparent, free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices. Such a move on the part of conscientious people of the world is all the more pressing now when the occupying power, India, is no more ruled by a so-called secular political elite – which too obstinately held on this illegal occupation but always pretended to be amenable to sanctity of human rights – but the one which is bent upon reviving primitive Hindutva rule all through India and its occupied territories.
The foot soldiers of the BJP ruling elite are on a killing spree of all, be they Muslims or Christians, who don’t fall in line with its Hindutva dictates. Having put a pro-BJP party in power in Srinagar, the Narendra Modi could next the Hindutva mindset on a rising trajectory in Occupied Kashmir. But that is a dangerous enterprise. In Occupied Kashmir, there are not very many Farooq Abdullahs or Mehbooba Muftis, for whom political power is elixir of life. It is a land of Muslims who would fight for their faith whatever it costs. Nearly a quarter of a million Kashmiri Muslims have died or permanent crippled standing up to brute occupying force: there are miles of graveyards entombing freedom fighters.
But that struggle has persisted. Heroic battles were waged in Srinagar and its suburbs on Sunday to foil the Modi-managed bye-election. That it is not the Kashmiris who are fighting this battle but terrorists from across the border with Pakistan as Narendra Modi would like the world to believe, that’s nothing but hogwash. It is as misleading as to say that Israeli occupation is not being resisted by Palestinians but by outsiders. It is the Kashmiris’ fight for their right to self-determination and shall go on whatever the cost.